At the Claas annual press conference 2013 in Düsseldorf, the members of the Executive Board are pictured; (from left): Lothar Kriszun (Tractors), Hans Lampert (Finance and Controlling), Jan-Hendrik Mohr (Sales), Dr. Theo Freye (Marketing and Strategy, Spokesman of the Executive Board, Claas KGaA mbH), Dr.Hermann Garbers (Technology and Quality).
Claas posts impressive figures in centenary year;
The agricultural equipment company based in the eastern Westphalian town of Harsewinkel has been celebrating its 100th anniversary during 2013. Claas is continuing its success and once again has reported impressive results for this fiscal year, which finished on 30 September. The family-owned business generated sales of €3,824.6 million, up from €3,434.6 million in the previous year. This equates to a rise of 11.3%, with the in the Agricultural Equipment division seeing a rise in sales of 12.0%. Gross profit on sales was up almost 7.6% year on year and, at €974.6 million, is closing in on the €1 billion mark. Income before taxes and the Group’s net income came in at €295.3 million and €212.3 million respectively, both down slightly on the previous year, which had included positive special effects from the disposal of the ProductionTechnology division. The Group’s operating result reached a new record high at €325 million.
. Sales up to €3,825 million
- 12% growth in Agricultural Equipment
- Income before taxes at €295 million
- Return on sales of 7.7%
- Operating income up to €325 million
- Equity-to-assets ratio increases to 43.1%
Success at Claas is founded on the company’s expertise and eagerness to develop and market brand-new and continuously improving technologies, explains the company. Current trends in state-of-the-art agriculture include the introduction of new, highly productive harvesters and tractors and intelligent networked systems – all based on a complete process-chain approach.
International markets on solid footing
Agricultural income developed positively in the crop year 2012/2013, which ended earlier than the Claas fiscal year on June 30, 2013. A variety of trends were observed in individual regions. While agricultural market volume in Western Europe was down slightly overall, market volume in the core Claas markets of Germany and France rose. Agricultural markets in Central Europe remained at a high level despite declining slightly last year. Growth rates in the Eastern European agricultural equipment sector were positive. The agricultural market in the U.S. and Canada stood out on account of sustained growth, as farmers received compensation through crop insurance payouts for crop failures caused by drought conditions. Growth at Claas outpaced market growth in many areas, enabling the company to acquire a greater market share.
Focus remains on research and development
One in every nine Claas employees works currently in one of the Group’s R & D divisions. Investment in research and development rose once again year on year, reaching €198 million. A number of different awards for new technical developments in machinery and software also underscored the role of Claas as an innovative force in the agricultural equipment industry. At the world’s largest agricultural equipment exhibition, the Agritechnica in Hanover, Claas took home an astonishing seven medals awarded by the German agricultural association Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft e.V. (DLG), as well as the international title “Tractor of the Year 2014” for the new Axion 850 tractor, and two “Machine of the Year 2014” titles for the Axion 800 tractor series with its infinitely variable transmission and the Cemos Automatic combine control software.
Claas growing more and more international
As of September 30, 2013, the Claas Group employed 6.8% more people than in theprevious year. The total number of employees stood at 9,697 as of the reporting date (prior year: 9,077). The difference between the number of domestic jobs and jobs abroad has largely evened out, with every other employee at Claas now based outside of Germany. The expansion of the Claas factory in the Russian city of Krasnodar with the associated recruitment measures and the planned acquisition of the Chinese agricultural equipment manufacturer Shandong Jinyee Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd. in the Shandong province will continue to drive this tendency toward a more international structure.
CLAAS GROUP IN FIGURES
in € million
in € million
|Gross profit on sales||974.6||905.5||7.6|
|Income before taxes||295.3||315.6||-6.4|
|Free cash flow||82.1||-84.2||–|
|Employees on reporting date (Sep. 30)||9,697||9,077||6.8|
Despite experiencing a slight decline overall, crop prices for agricultural products are currently stabilizing at a relatively high level, explains Claas. This will lead to positive income forecasts for the company’s customers. Farmers and contractors will have more resources available to invest in new equipment, although, as in prior years, this trend will take on a different shape in various regions around the world.
In the 2014 fiscal year, the tendency will be for more lateral development on the market than upward progression. As a result, we anticipate stable to moderately increasing sales for 2014. This forecast is also based on our assessment of growth potential in various product groups, especially tractors. 2014 will also see us continue our massive investment in expanding our business and in particular open up growth markets in Asia. Howev